No rush on voter ID: A judicious delay on new law is a wise move

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Republicans across the country, including here in Pennsylvania, have passed laws mandating that voters show identification at the polls, supposedly to protect against fraud. Given that a constitutional right is at stake and the evidence of individuals voting multiple times is scant if non-existent, the rush to pass such laws has been almost indecent and given rise to well-grounded political suspicions.

But at least on that score Pennsylvanians can rejoice. The state's appellate courts have put a brake on the legislation the Republicans succeeded in passing in March 2012. Although Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson initially found that the law passed constitutional muster, the state Supreme Court wasn't so sure and sent the case back for more review.

The result was that House Majority Leader Mike Turzai's reckless boast that the voter ID would deliver the state to Mitt Romney in the presidential election was thwarted. The law was put on hold and is still on hold. After hearing a fresh round of testimony this summer, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley on Friday ordered the suspension to continue until he reaches an appealable decision. As both sides had already agreed that it won't be applied in November, the final word on this law may be a long time coming.

And that may be a blessing for all concerned -- to the commonwealth, which has more time to put in place a system that allows even the most vulnerable voters to get an ID, and for the plaintiffs, who have more time to help members of the same group to apply for an ID, if it comes to that. However the case is decided, this judicial delay is also a judicious delay.



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